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Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Archive for ‘December, 2013’

Certain foods are supposed to bring you good luck for the year if eaten on New Year’s Day — cabbage, black eyed peas, etc.  Here is my favorite cabbage recipe that I plan to make.  Cabbage is so good for you (high in lots of nutrients, filled with antioxidants, can lower bad cholesterol, and is very low in calories and fat) and inexpensive, but often gets a bad rap.  It does have a strong, funky smell when you cook it (that’s how I remembered it growing up) — and it can give you gas!  Just don’t eat like three servings in one sitting!  This cabbage recipe is awesome though – it’s fresh and delicious.  You will want more than one serving!  Great served with pork chops, pork tenderloin, or grilled sausages.  Note: I lowered the amount of salt in the recipe below.

Sauteed cabbage and leeks

Recipe from blog Simple Bites.

Sautéed Cabbage & Leeks with Apples

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 whole leek
  • 1/2 green cabbage head
  • 1 large apple
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare leeks by cleaning them, drying and chopping them into 1/2 inch rounds. Divide cabbage into two quarters, lay them on a flat, cut side and roughly chop them into chunks, avoiding the core. Separate the cabbage pieces slightly.
  2. Heat a 5 quart French oven or a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter is bubbling.
  3. Add leeks to melted butter and sauté for two minutes. Add the cabbage all at once and immediately stir thoroughly to coat the cabbage with butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Partially cover and cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring often, until cabbage has wilted significantly. During this time, quarter and core the apple and roughly dice.
  5. Add the apple to the cabbage as well as the apple cider vinegar. Sauté on medium heat for another three minutes, stirring often. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve hot.

Note: Chardonnay vinegar can be substituted for apple cider vinegar and the whole dish would be lovely with a sprinkling of caraway seeds sautéed in the mix.

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I’ve been curious about breakfast quinoa and tried a few recipes that really were not that good.  This is my favorite and it’s simple to make.  It’s a great high-protein alternative to warm oatmeal in the morning.  One of my two boys like this!  Top with fresh fruit and/or nuts or nothing at all.

Breakfast Quinoa

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living.

Breakfast Quinoa
 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole or low-fat milk, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar, plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving

Directions

  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

  2. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds. Serve with additional milk, sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries.

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This is a fun meal to serve if you are having people over since everyone can assemble their own carnitas to their liking.  You can make the braised pork ahead of time (or the day before).  My neighbor Karen told me about a great local Hispanic market “Chavez” where I buy freshly made guacamole, salsas, and queso fresco to accompany the carnitas.  I also serve shredded cabbage (green and/or purple), sour cream, lime wedges, fresh corn cut off the cob, and chopped cilantro on the side.  I like to use white corn & wheat tortillas and my friend O’Neal taught me how to warm them up: simply place directly on top of your gas burner over medium heat for about 10 seconds per side and flip over with your hands.  Tortillas should be warmed and slightly browned.  Cover in tin foil until ready to serve.

This is the caption here.

Recipe on blog by David Lebovitz (adapted from his cookbook The Sweet Life in Paris.)

Carnitas

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 4-5-pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola or neutral vegetable oil
  • water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly-sliced

Directions:

1. Rub the pieces of pork shoulder all over with salt. Refrigerate for 1- to 3-days. (You can skip this step if you want. Just be sure to salt the pork before searing the meat in the next step.)

2. Heat the oil in a roasting pan set on the stovetop. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around. If your cooking vessel is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches.

3. Once all the pork is browned, remove them from the pot and blot away any excess fat with a paper towel, then pour in about a cup of water, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged utensil to release all the tasty brown bits.

4. Heat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.

5. Add the pork back to the pan and add enough water so the pork pieces are 2/3rd’s submerged in liquid. Add the cinnamon stick and stir in the chile powders, bay leaves, cumin and garlic.

7. Braise in the oven uncovered for 3½ hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the pork is falling apart. Remove the pan from the oven and lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter.

8. Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces, about 2-inches (7 cm), discarding any obvious big chunks of fat if you wish.

9. Return the pork pieces back to the roasting pan and cook in the oven, turning occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork is crispy and caramelized. It will depend on how much liquid the pork gave off, and how crackly you want them.

I like mine deeply, darkly, crispy brown on the outside.

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